Friday, April 8, 2011

Onion Skin Egg Dyeing - Tutorial

Onion Skin Dye

I have one pot of yellow onion skins and the photo below is the pot of red/purple onion skins. Now... you can get a multitude of colors from both skins ( I recommend keeping them in separate pots) depending on temp and variety of onion and if you use Alum or Ammonia/vinegar before or after. Its just one of the most wonderful dyes there is and you do not have to pre-mordant to keep the color light safe. I have been told that you can get some green dye with the purple skins but I have yet to see it myself (I have seen others) the yellow skins give a rich lushes yellow/orange.

1. Wet the skins for a minute or two then place a few skins in your palm.
2. Place greens - small leafs, tips of ferns, blades of grass.
3. Place a raw egg on those greens
4. Place more greens on the others side of the egg (facing you)
5. Fold up from the sides the rest of the onion skins (also may need to place more wet skins if you do not have enough) on top
6. Wrap the whole package with string or rubber bands.
The tighter you wrap the more detail the resist of the "greens" will ghost onto the egg. I say ghost because some places you will get sharp detail but mostly it will look blurred.

Like I said, I recommend keeping two pots for the different colored skins (by the way, white onion skins do not release any color). Here we can see the yellow onion skins on the left and the darker red skins on the right (these have already been boiled).

Place them in the cool to warm pot of water (do not place cold eggs in hot to boiling water as they will crack) Place as many extra skins in the pot that you have - handfuls are good. I collect skins all year long for this event. Bring to a boil - which might take some time as there is a lot of stuff in the pot) then boil the eggs for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat. Now comes the hard part... least a half an hour or a few is better. Take out the eggs and unwrap.

The darker eggs are from the red onion skins. Here is a detail of a fern on the egg being unwrapped. It was a good placement and wrapped snugly.

I did this pot of dye with grade 4/5 today and then I just couldn't throw away the pot of color so I took it home and you can see the eggs on the right are done with fresh skins and the ones on the left are the "second" time around. Still delightful and full of color but the darker ones have a larger range of reds/orange/yellow.

Enjoy, I highly recommend it. Learn from me and ware gloves (I currently have yellow fingers)
The photo at the very top is yellow skins on velour, red skins on velour & silk done with yellow skins. Rich!


themagiconions said...

Oh, how utterly wonderful... I'm totally in love with the fern egg. So beautiful and knowing that it all comes from our good Mother Earth is so gratifying. We'll be making these for sure.
I also wanted to ask you if you'd like to be a guest on my Discovering Waldorf series? I'd be so delighted if you are. Pop me an email at vined (at)
Blessings and magic,

Lisa said...

I am linking your post on my blog, these are so lovely and inspiring and erth friendly and your layout os gorgeous!

woolladyfelter said...

Thank you The magiconions, I had a lot of fun creating my guest spot.


Thank you Lisa - go glad you are enjoying it & link away.

purnawan said...

thanks for the ideas and information you provide, it really helped me in doing my job.

Mia Robbins said...

My son came home with one of these beautiful dyed eggs from school - just wondering how long they will last??

Many thanks